ORU volleyball extends win streak to five

ORU Athletics

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Oral Roberts volleyball extended its season-opening win streak to five needing five sets to take down UT Martin (23-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-25, 15-4) and added a three-set victory over Alabama A&M (25-11, 25-16, 25-10) Friday inside Banterra Center during the Saluki Bash.

It’s the best start to a season for the Golden Eagles since 1996 when they won their first seven matches and just the fifth time in program history with more than three-consecutive wins to begin a campaign. Sarah Thiessen added to the milestone day as the redshirt senior became the 12th player in program history to record 1,000 career digs in the first set Friday.

The Golden Eagles got off to a great start scoring the first four points by forcing the Skyhawks into three attack errors and one of five, opening-set kills by Sakira LaCour. UTM slowly turned the tide and took a 22-16 advantage. ORU made a valiant comeback bid as Thiessen served a 6-0 run, but dropped the set 25-23.

A 3-0 run by the Skyhawks broke a 6-6 tie in the second stanza before a LaCour and Jeslyn Spencer block gave ORU an 11-10 cushion. Back-to-back kills by Trinity Freeman and Kaia Dunford helped cap a 5-1 burst and the Golden Eagles evened the match claiming the set, 25-23. The momentum carried into the third set as ORU scored five of the first six points and continued to control the action building an 18-9 lead. The set went to the gold and blue, 25-16.

The Golden Eagles attack extended into the fourth frame as Freeman and Spencer helped push to a 4-1 margin. UTM fought back to jump in front and stretched its lead behind a 12-1 run and forced a fifth set winning, 25-15. ORU wasted no time dominating the final set scoring the first seven points and cruised to the win, 15-4, getting six kills on eight swings overall, while holding the Skyhawks to a -.353 hitting percentage.

In the second match, ORU tallied the first five points of the contest capped on a Wakley and Rami Mose block and capitalized on a 6-0 run for a 13-5 edge. The offense continued to score pushing to a win in the first set, 25-11, behind a .400 hitting percentage. The Bulldogs took a 6-5 lead in the second stanza, but the Golden Eagles were quick to respond and put away seven-straight points reclaiming the energy using that to finish off the set, 25-17.

ORU was able to showcase its depth down the stretch jumping to a 5-1 advantage in the third frame getting a pair of kills by Mackenzie Edwards around a Mose attack. Alabama A&M had no response for the Golden Eagles as the margin swelled on a 14-2 surge and ended in favor of ORU, 25-10.

Inside the Match One Box Score

  • In the first set of the day, Thiessen recorded her 1,000th career dig. The reigning Summit League Defensive Player of the Week finished with a match-leading 21 digs and three service aces.
  • Freeman led four Golden Eagles in double-figure kills as the freshman posted 15, while LaCour added 14 and Dunford had 13. Jaxie Wakley joined the group behind a 10-kill effort and a team-best .333 hitting percentage.
  • LaCour remained a force at the net registering one solo block and a career-high seven block assists. Freeman matched her season high with five block assists as ORU finished with a 10.5-8 advantage in blocks.
  • Bryanne Soares distributed the ball to her hitters totaling 46 set assists reaching 40 or more for the fourth time in her career.

Inside the Match Two Box Score

  • LaCour had four kills on four swings in the opening set and could not be contained in the win hitting a blistering .786 getting 11 kills on 14 swings. That hitting percentage currently ranks ninth in the NCAA for a single match.
  • Spencer and Freeman aided the balanced offense registering seven and six kills, respectively, as eight different players had multiple kills in the win.
  • Edwards collected her first collegiate kills posting five on eight swings.
  • Sylvia Lawson led the team with 18 set assists and Soares added 15 and a career-best five service aces, while Thiessen reached double-digit digs recording 13.
  • The Golden Eagles closed the contest hitting .412 overall in addition to 11 service aces.

ORU plays its final match of the weekend Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against the host Salukis live on ESPN3.